Millennium Joins Crowd in Delaying Service Until 2000
The Millennium Pipeline project last week joined a crowd of
other proposed pipelines and expansions that are being delayed for
market or regulatory reasons. The announcement makes it even more
likely the widespread market impacts expected from increases in
pipeline links between western Canada and the midwestern and
northeastern U.S. probably won't be felt until winter 2000-2001.
Millennium officials said its shippers requested service be
delayed until November 2000 to give the market and the upstream
supply community time to prepare for greater transportation
capacity and to give the project more time to crawl through the
Millennium informed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of
the revised project schedule, which calls for some portions of the
442-mile pipeline roughly between Lake Erie and New York City to be
constructed in 1999 with the balance built the following year.
It joins the Independence Pipeline and MarketLink projects,
Millennium competitors, and the Alliance Pipeline. Another major
project, Viking Voyageur, dropped out of the picture in April.
Millennium's reasons for the delay appear to be similar to those of
Independence and MarketLink. The shippers on those projects are
primarily large marketing firms.
A spokesman indicated Millennium's nine shippers, who are mainly
pipeline affiliated marketers (Engage, TransCanada and Columbia are
the largest capacity holders) requested the delay in part to give
the market more time to develop and to give upstream supply
providers more time to prepare. Millennium plans to file revised
shipper agreements soon with FERC.
"Our shippers have indicated that a Nov. 1, 2000 in-service date
will meet their objectives to provide economically priced supplies
of natural gas to customers in the East," said Millennium Project
Manager David Pentzien. "The schedule also provides flexibility for
Millennium to schedule construction activities during optimal
periods from summer 1999 through fall of 2000."
The pipeline company, a partnership of Columbia Gas, TransCanada
PipeLines, MCN Energy and Westcoast Energy, originally requested a
preliminary determination on non-environmental grounds (PD) on the
project from FERC by May. But a spokesman said FERC's delay on the
PD played no role in this decision. The pipeline company now is
requesting a PD by September with final FERC approval by April 30,
The $650 million pipeline project is designed to transport 700
MMcf/d of gas from a connection with TransCanada PipeLines in the
middle of Lake Erie to a connection with Consolidated Edison in
Westchester County, NY. Nearly 90% of its route is to be built in
existing rights of way.
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